NY Mets: Aging like fine wine Robinson Cano provides value in 2021
New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano has proven to many around the league he still has plenty left in the tank in his age-37 campaign.
Many of us New York Mets fans last season were ready to write off second baseman Robinson Cano after his slow first-half start to the 2019 campaign. After all many Mets, fans were not happy with the trade of Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz from the Seattle Mariners from the onset, which made any gaffe on the field even more magnified for both players.
What we didn’t take into account is Robinson Cano is one of this generations greatest natural hitters and it took some adjustments both at the plate and him adjusting to a new league while facing many pitchers he’s never seen before to get his feet under him.
In the second half of the season, Cano would take off, finishing the second half of the season with a .284 batting average and a .884 OPS. Cano would also slug nine home runs with 21 RBI’s over his final 42 games.
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That success from last season has translated into the 2020 campaign as Cano has not hit below .300 since July 31st and has proven even at 37-years old he still has plenty left in the tank.
Cano also is hitting a robust .395 in high leverage situations this season for the Mets, as well as an almost .300 average with runners in scoring position which has been a welcome boost to the Mets deep lineup that has struggled to drive in runners.
Cano is also hitting the ball with more authority at the plate this season as his hard-hit ball percentage is at 40% and that is the second-highest it’s ever been in his career, aside from his suspension shortened 2018 campaign in Seattle. He’s also on pace to have the highest OPS of his career.
The Mets have been able to use the universal Designated Hitter to their advantage this season by having Cano split time at second base as well at DH. While it is unknown if the designated hitter will return to the National League in 2021, Cano has certainly provided optimism to Mets fans and the front office that he can carry the load at second base next season with his performance over the past season and a half.
We all know that Cano is a lifetime .300 hitter, has one of the sweetest swings in baseball and holds many highly regarded accolades across the board. While he may no longer be able to play 150 or more games in a regular-season like he used to, his value both on the field and in the clubhouse is integral to a ballclub that is in a win-now mode which includes a healthy mix of young hungry players and veterans.
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The Mets still have three seasons of Robinson Cano under contract after this season. While it is completely unknown what the 2022 and 2023 seasons may hold for Cano’s future, one thing is for sure about 2021 and that is Cano has proven he can still hit in the middle of the Mets lineup with his All-Star caliber worthy 2020 season. Word to the wise, don’t close the book on Robinson Cano just yet.